Liberties We Take for Granted

Figure drawing classroom at the University of North Texas

Figure drawing classroom at the University of North Texas


There are an extraordinary amount of social and political liberties that we take for granted in our everyday lives. Throughout Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi lives a life on the opposite spectrum, regarding authoritative rule, in her country on Iran and her autobiographical novel really opened my mind to that particular lifestyle. She is forced to assimilate into traditionalist values by living in constant fear of being arrested if she does not comply with regulations of dress and values.

The portion of the book I identified the most with was the when Marjane was in art school. As a visual communications student myself, I personally live in a world where I am not bond to strict regulations of my government and I can draw what I please. A central component to basic drawing classes in numerous art schools is nudes. People’s forms and body shapes are masked under clothing, and drawing nudes allows students to acquire skill of drawing the human body with anatomical correctness. Marjane was not allowed to draw nudes in her school, but rather drew veiled women, which did not expose the form of the individual’s body. Marjane and her friends drew each other in the confines of their own houses, where they were not under the constant threat of detainment if they were not in accordance to various social requirements.

When walking down the street, Marjane had to continuously think about whether or not her physical deposition would get her arrested. She had to manage her pants length, whether or not her veil was worn properly, the amount of make-up she was wearing, and various other things. Frivolous behaviors such as drinking alcohol, playing cards, dancing were banned. Marjane and her male counterparts were separated in school and unmarried couples could not live together or show their affection in public. I could not imagine living my own life in such circumstances. I tried to picture myself amongst Marjane and I simply could not imagine living in a healthy cognitive state because I am used to social and political freedom.

I live in a world where I can wear whatever attire I desire, as long as it’s not too obscene. I can actively protest and walk down a street without the threat of being arrested. I can play cards, dance, and display affection openly. I can draw nudes and be part of a class with both males and females. Often I take these notions for granted.



8 thoughts on “Liberties We Take for Granted

  1. I agree this book makes you realize how much you are taking advantage of living in the United States. Things that seem normal everyday things to us seem wrong in other countries. The freedom we are giving in the United States is truly exemplified when it is contrasted with the Iraqi culture in Persepolis. I liked your comparison of your experience in art school with hers because it gives a great example in to the subtle differences in our cultures. The nude art isn’t seen as raunchy here it is merely seen as art. There nude art is seen as raunchy as it can get and overall immoral. Like you said it’s hard to even imagine living in a place where some of the things you do on a daily basis could get you thrown in jail. Overall I liked your post because of your emphasis on the completely different cultural values that we have and that they have.

    • Thank you so much for your reply! 🙂
      Just because someone is naked, it does not mean that there is any sexual connotation. At school, we view the models as the same way we view still lifes (various objects arranged in a setting). I guess I should have illustrated that point in my article.

  2. Great Post! I agree we take so many thing’s for granted each day until we take a sep back a look at it from a different perspective. I liked that you mentioned the fear of Marjane towards her appearance. This are things hat we in america may thing nothing of, as we simply wear and do whatever we please. Those moments you mentioned about her life are important because we can compare and contrast it to how we live and therefore appreciate EVERYTHING we have at much deeper level. A cop would not arrest us for wearing too much makeup or wearing shorts in the summer, its unjust and cruel. Although i do not agree with the way things were done over there i understand that things are done differently in other places. THNX interesting post 🙂

  3. I agree with your notion that we often take things for granted. We live in America and at birth we are open to so many things such as television, schools, and cars. Often at times we don’t realize how lucky we are to have access to all these things. After reading about Marjane’s life I too would find it hard to live the way she did, day to day in fear of bombings, arrests, and riots. Although Marjane was required to follow dress-code and other absurd laws, she found ways to voice her opinions and stand out as an individual. Even in a world where people are limited of their freedoms, they will always find a way to express themselves and be who they want to be.

    • You are absolutely correct! The girls (the individuals who experienced the most repressive restrictions) were able to still express themselves and their individuality through. Thank you for bring up this point!

  4. I agree with you completely on the idea that Marjane lives in a world with many restrictions and complications in doing what she loves to do. You create a great stance and give out great examples on how the government in Iran is assimilating traditional values into their world. I think you could have elaborated a little more about Iran at war with Iraq and so many people would have different views of the war, causing new rulers to take charge of Iran and causing many people to change due to the new ruler’s law. Then you could have delved into your examples on how Marjane was restricted to drawing and restrictions on enjoying free time with friends. I did see a flaw when you stated that you could walk down the street to protest freely. Many people can do that, but as a result, it may be ineffective, since the police department would stop you from protesting. Overall, you talk about a great topic and I believe you had great examples to back the idea up.

  5. I think your focus is spot on. we do take for granted the liberties we have, we sue each other for childish reasons, we abuse our rights as a nation. I’d have to also say that all though we have rights; their is definitely a bit of a caste system, so to speak. We have liberties yes, but for some of us our freedoms are ignored or misconstrued in the absence of money, wealth and power. Status is a key role in the rights of men in the 21st century, the less money you have, the less likely you will be to influence others more immediately. On the flip side our law enforcement system, and the general justice system is no better than some of the lowest per capita country’s justice systems. I feel that even though we have rights, they are just hollowed out bones, false security. this isn’t true in every situation, but for some people Persepolis is vaguely familiar.

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